Go West, Biotech Battle

While most people in America will be keenly watching the Presidential election next month, agricultural and food companies will most likely be more interested in the outcome of California’s Proposition 37. If passed, this initiative would become the first in the nation to require that food products and produce sold in the state be labeled to indicate if they are made using biotech crops as a source. Processed foods would have to include the words “partially produced with genetic engineering” on either the front or back label. Whole foods such as sweet corn would have be labeled with a similar sign on the grocery shelf.

As you might expect, national food companies such as PepsiCo, ConAgra Foods and General Mills have contributed millions of dollars to defeat Proposition 37. So have large ag companies such as Monsanto, DuPont and Syngenta. A few trade groups such as the Council for Biotechnology Information and the Grocery Manufac­turers Association have also joined the fight against the measure.

Support for Proposition 37 has come primarily from organic food producers such as Organic Valley and Nature’s Path. Yet, the owners of some of the largest organic brands in the country — Kashi and Horizon Organic — are on the anti-labeling side in this fight.

And the stakes in this battle are potentially huge. According to a report in the San Francisco Chronicle, approximately 70% to 80% of the processed foods sold in the U.S. are made using biotech crops such as corn, soybeans, sugar beets and cotton oil.

Both sides in the fight over Proposi­tion 37 have their own reasons for their stand on the issue. According to the pro-Proposition 37 forces, consumers have a right to know what is in the products they buy. But according to the anti-Proposition 37 side, the initiative is likely to add $1.2 billion for California growers and food producers to implement the new labeling requirements, which could add up to $400 to the average family’s grocery bill.

Anti-Proposition 37 forces most likely fear what happened in the European Union, which passed a similar labeling measure back in 1997. There, food processors reformulated their products to avoid the use of biotech crop ingredients so no labeling was required.

In truth, I can appreciate both sides of this argument. On one hand, I agree that consumers have a right to know what ingredients are in the food products they buy. But on the other hand, singling out biotech crops — which have been approved by government agencies as safe for consumption — on the label seems a bit like ingredient profiling. And what of the label for something like beef jerky that might have been made with cattle that had been raised on biotech feed?

According to a poll conducted in July by the California Busi­ness Roundtable and Pepperdine University, Proposition 37 is favored by 65% of perspective voters. It will be interesting to see where this latest salvo in the fight over biotech crops ultimately lands.

Leave a Reply

Eric Sfiligoj Stories

Water Drainage
Eric SfiligojDMWW Lawsuit Dismissal Good News for Ag
March 27, 2017
On March 17 while most of the nation was toasting St. Patrick’s Day, agriculture was likely lifting a glass (or Read More
Bayer Monsanto
Eric SfiligojBayer-Monsanto: Life, LibertyLink, And The Pursuit Of Regulatory Approval
March 20, 2017
As the calendar officially turns to spring, life is in full renewal mode. Flowers are blooming, birds are singing, and Read More
Photo credit: The United Soybean Board/The Soybean Checkoff.
Eric SfiligojFungicide Resistance On The Horizon
March 13, 2017
For many years now, the agricultural market has struggled to keep ahead of an ever-growing number of herbicide-resistant weeds. According Read More
Comodity Classic 2017 overview
Eric SfiligojCommodity Classic 2017: Growers’ Three Wishes
March 6, 2017
Last week, I had the chance to attend the annual Commodity Classic show in San Antonio, TX. Drawing some 10,000 Read More
Trending Articles
Nutrients for Life Foundation Teacher
FertilizerNutrients For Life Foundation Celebrates 10 Years Teaching Fertilizer Education
March 23, 2017
Those in agriculture know fertilizer is a vital ingredient to grow strong, productive crops. In fact, fertilizer is responsible for Read More
AdjuvantsA New Weed-Control Era Begins: But First, One Last Obstacle
March 4, 2017
There is trepidation, there is reluctance, and there is excitement. Ag retailers feel it all about the new dicamba and Read More
LIFT Academy video screenshot
Crop InputsLIFT Agriculture Academy: A Q&A With West Central Distribution’s Dean Hendrickson
March 1, 2017
West Central Distribution recently launched its LIFT Agriculture Academy, a new, premiere training and professional development resource for West Central’s ag Read More
Farmer and aptop
Matt Hopkins10 Warning Signs Your Website Is Grossly Outdated
February 8, 2017
Your Website is often a visitor’s first impression of your ag retail business. A positive first impression can set the Read More
AgriSync
Matt Hopkins17 Agriculture Apps That Will Help You Farm Smarter In 2017
December 9, 2016
Ag professionals are working smarter, not harder, than ever before. Smart farming technologies have enabled them to reduce costs, maximize Read More
R4023 Sprayer, John Deere
CropLife 100Ag Retail Equipment Report: The Green Party Continues
December 7, 2016
In the annual race for sales in the ag retail equipment marketplace, the color schemes for participants are a little Read More
Latest News
Soybean Closeup
FungicidesNew CROSSOVER PRO Formulation Offers Insect and Disease…
March 29, 2017
INNVICTIS CROP CARE, LLC has launched CROSSOVER PRO as a first of its kind formulation combining propiconazole and lambda-cyhalothrin for Read More
Trade Summit
Crop Inputs3 Compelling Reasons to Attend the AgriBusiness Global …
March 29, 2017
The AgriBusiness Global Trade Summit is the world’s premier sourcing event for crop protection and plant health products. Its core Read More
ManagementStudy: Farming Becoming Riskier Under Climate Change
March 28, 2017
Scientists the world over are working to predict how climate change will affect our planet. It is an extremely complex Read More
Young Corn Plants
Crop NutritionProtecting Nitrogen Provides Economic, Environmental RO…
March 28, 2017
Every business looks to improve its return on investment and reduce its risk of loss. Farmers are no different, yet Read More
Water Drainage
Eric SfiligojDMWW Lawsuit Dismissal Good News for Ag
March 27, 2017
On March 17 while most of the nation was toasting St. Patrick’s Day, agriculture was likely lifting a glass (or Read More
Eric Jenks, Wilbur-Ellis
Crop InputsWilbur-Ellis Launches ADVANTIGRO Plant Growth Regulator…
March 27, 2017
Wilbur-Ellis Agribusiness, a recognized leader in the marketing and distribution of crop protection, seed and nutritional products, as well as Read More
Yara West Sacramento Ribbon Cutting
Crop InputsYara West Sacramento Is Newest Addition
March 27, 2017
Yara’s West Sacramento Terminal was officially welcomed March 21 as the newest Yara North America facility in the U.S. While continually Read More
UncategorizedPrecision Ag, Iowa Water, and GM Corn Updates
March 24, 2017
Editors Paul Schrimpf and Eric Sfiligoj look at the state of precision agriculture, the dismissal of the Des Moines Water Read More
Pam Marrone
Crop InputsMarrone Bio Innovations Enters Biostimulants Market Wit…
March 23, 2017
Marrone Bio Innovations, Inc. is expanding beyond biopesticides and crop protection and into the biostimulant market by commercially launching Haven Read More
Nutrients for Life Foundation Teacher
FertilizerNutrients For Life Foundation Celebrates 10 Years Teach…
March 23, 2017
Those in agriculture know fertilizer is a vital ingredient to grow strong, productive crops. In fact, fertilizer is responsible for Read More
ManagementThink You Know Water? Take WinField United’s R…
March 22, 2017
Water is among our most precious resources, and arguably the hardest working, with just one percent available for human use, Read More
Corn Field
LegislationTFI Hopes Court Dismissal Is ‘Final Chapter’…
March 20, 2017
The Fertilizer Institute (TFI) released the following statement from President, Chris Jahn on the March 17, 2017, federal court dismissal Read More
Wheat Growers
Industry NewsWheat Growers CEO Dale Locken To Retire
March 20, 2017
CEO Dale Locken has announced that he plans to retire from Wheat Growers. Locken has served almost 15 years as Read More
Bayer Monsanto
Eric SfiligojBayer-Monsanto: Life, LibertyLink, And The Pursuit Of R…
March 20, 2017
As the calendar officially turns to spring, life is in full renewal mode. Flowers are blooming, birds are singing, and Read More
Corn Field
Crop InputsUltra Yield Micronutrients Acquires Kronos Micronutrien…
March 16, 2017
Ultra Yield Micronutrients, Inc. ”Ultra”, an affiliate of Cameron Chemicals, Inc., is pleased to announce that it has acquired the Read More
ManagementSnowstorms, Asset Sales, and Soybeans Prices
March 16, 2017
Editors Paul Schrimpf and Eric Sfiligoj discuss the weather, precision ag, crop protection company mergers, and commodity prices in this Read More
Soybean Field
Seed/BiotechBayer Invests $8.1 million In Soybean Advancement In Th…
March 16, 2017
Growers in Illinois and across the Midwest now have the added benefit of a state-of-the-art soybean research facility, increasing accessibility Read More
CHS
CropLife 100CHS Acquires Western Co-op Transport Association
March 16, 2017
CHS Inc., North America’s leading farmer-owned cooperative and a global energy, grains and foods company, has purchased Western Co-op Transport Read More